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Turnip is also known as a white turnip. Its scientific name is Brassica rapa and sub species rapa. Turnip is a root vegetable. Worldwide it is generally grown in warm temperate climates. The edible part of the turnip is for fleshy white taproot. The turnip word is a compound word consisting of two words, turn which means rounded /turned on a lathe and neep word derived from Latin word napus, means plant. The tender, small type of turnip is cultivated for human consumption. The large-sized variety of turnip is cultivated as fodder for livestock. In Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, eastern Canada, and the north of England, the word turnip is referred to as rutabaga belongs to the same genus Brassica. However, it is a yellow root large vegetable, which is also known as "Swedish turnip" or swede.

Description of Turnip

The most available variety of turnips is white skinned, just its upper 1-5 cm, red or greenish or purple because it is above the ground and exposed to the sun. This non-white part grows from stem tissue, but further, it fused with a white root. The inner flesh is entirely white. The root is unevenly round with a diameter of 5–20 cm and absent side roots. Below, the taproot standard root starts, thin, consist of 11-17 cm in length; it is mostly cut off before selling turnip. The turnip leaves grow straight from the above-ground root part, with no visible or littleneck or crown.

In the U.K., turnip leaves known as turnip green is eaten; it tastes like mustard greens. In the season of late Fall and Winter, the typical side dish of the south-eastern U.S is turnip greens. The larger leaves are bitter in taste, but bitterness can be reduced by boiling it in water and wasting the water. That's why mostly smaller leaves are used for cooking. Many turnip types are cultivated just because of its leaves resemblance with mustard greens leaves and have no or little storage roots. These comprise bok choy, Chinese cabbage, and rapini. Like raw radish or cabbage, turnip roots and leaves also have a strong pungent flavor that gets slighter after cooking.

Turnip roots maximum weigh 1 kilogram but mostly harvested smaller because product weight depends on its function; if It is used for fodder, a larger size is harvested. Small turnips known as baby turnips are a unique variety because they are only available fresh when harvested; it can't be stored for a long time. Baby turnip leaves can also be eaten. It comes in red-, white-, yellow-, and orange-fleshed types. They are mild pungent in flavor, so eaten raw in salads.

Turnip green leaves contain water 93%, carbohydrates 4%, protein 1%, and negligible fat. The turnip boiled leaves are a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate.

Growing Turnip

In 1881 American Household Cyclopedia recommended that turnip can be grown by seeds in plowed and harrowed fields. It advised planting turnip in late May or June. Also, keep thinning and weeding with a dig during the whole summer.

Turnip is cultivated in cool weather because it is a root crop. In warm summer weather, turnips root grow into a hard woody texture with bad taste, best grow when the weather is cool. In Canada and the northern U.S., turnips are cultivated in the spring season when the weather is cold. There the cultivation season is of 3–4 months. In temperate climate regions, the cultivation season of turnips is of 5–6 months, and it can also be cultivated a second time in late summer for the fall crop. In warm-weather climates, the growing season of turnips is 7 or more months, and it is cultivated in the fall. The average growing period of turnips is 55–60 days.

Turnips take 2 years from the germination stage to the reproduction stage because it is a biennial plant. In 1st year only roots grow and store nutrients than in the second year, seeds are produced, and flowers die. The turnip flowers are yellow and tall, and seeds form in pod shapes like in peas. In regions where growing seasons are less than seven months, it is crucial to surviving for the roots in cold weather. Seeds are produced by pulling the turnips in cold weather and storing them while keeping the leaves intact. To complete their lifecycle, they are replanted in the spring season.

Turnips are grown directly by seeds because they are not transplanted well due to chances of root damage increases. Seeds are sown 0.5 inches deep in the soil; when the seedling is 4 inches above the ground, thin them 4 inches apart, and space between rows should be 12 inches.

Keep removing weeds and mulch the rows to suppress weeds and retain moisture. Some are harvested early for turnip greens. Turnips can be harvested at any time depends on the size you need. Small-sized turnips are more tender and nicer.

Pest and diseases affecting Turnip

Turnips are attacked by flea beetles and aphids. It is suspected of white rust fungus disease. Turnips are prone to anthracnose, leaf spot, turnip mosaic, clubroot, white rust, and scab. The best strategy to avoid this is crop rotation, ideally 4 years gap, generally 2 years. Repeatedly examine the plants and remove the diseased plants and destroy them.

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